Research by Nick Bowman

Policy Analysis | June 2020

Federal Assistance To Farms Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

Nick Bowman

As of June 29, 2020, the coronavirus has infected 8 million and contributed to 440,000 deaths worldwide; including 2.2 million cases and nearly 120,000 deaths in the United States.1 For more on the virus, see the SLC policy analyses, Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Spread of COVID-19 within Regions of the United States, Coronavirus Impacts on State Legislatures and Elections and Coronavirus Response at State Unemployment Agencies.

The agriculture sector has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus and accompanying quarantine policies. Many of the largest buyers of agricultural products—including restaurants, schools and hotels—have closed or operated at limited capacity for months due to the pandemic. With a supply chain built around these buyers, many farmers have been forced to destroy crops, dairy and dairy-related products, and livestock. Dairy farmers have been dumping millions of gallons of milk; chicken processors are destroying hundreds of thousands of eggs; and vegetable farmers are plowing acres of fields.2 Meanwhile, coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants have created a backlog of pigs to be slaughtered, forcing some farmers to euthanize tens of thousands of their pigs.3

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Policy Analysis | June 2020

Coronavirus Impacts on State Legislatures and Elections

Mikko Lindberg, Anne Brody, Roger Moore, Cody Allen and Nick Bowman

Last updated: June 24, 2020


On March 31, House members arrived at staggered times and reported directly to their offices. Speaker Mac McCutcheon cautioned members who had been sick or around someone sick not to attend. Department of Public Health employees checked temperatures at State House entrances to prevent anyone with a fever from entering the building. Members came to the House chamber in small groups, with ample space between members. The Senate followed similar social distancing guidelines. After reaching quorum in both chambers, the session was suspended until May 4.

The Senate General Fund Budget Committee convened on April 28 to pass a budget for fiscal year 2021. The $2.4 billion budget increases funding for Medicaid, Department of Public Health, and Department of Corrections. Committee members followed social distancing guidelines, with some wearing face masks.

The Legislature reconvened on Monday, May 4. Members of the media will be granted access, but in different locations than usual due to social distancing. The House of Representatives will offer live streaming video of the session, with the Senate offering live audio streaming. The Legislature adjourned sine die on May 18.

U.S. Senate Republican Runoff Election moved from March 31 to July 14.

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Policy Analysis | June 2020

Coronavirus Response at State Unemployment Agencies

Nick Bowman

Disclaimer: Employment figures prior to the passage of the CARES Act at the end of March do not include independent contactors and other self-employed workers who historically have not qualified for unemployment insurance. As a result, data following the enactment of the CARES Act will include previously ineligible unemployed individuals who now qualify for benefits, effective until the end of 2020. For more information on unemployment, see the SLC Policy Analysis “Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Since emerging in December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)—the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—has infected millions and caused catastrophic economic impacts. As of May 28, 2020, the coronavirus had infected 5.6 million and contributed to 355,000 deaths worldwide, including 1.73 million cases and more than 100,000 deaths in the United States.1 The infections, deaths and quarantine policies have had devastating economic effects. Prior to the outbreak, unemployment was on a multi-year downward trend, with the national unemployment rate below 5 percent for 42 consecutive months. March’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. One month later, the rate soared to 14.7 percent.2

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More Research by Nick Bowman

Policy Analysis | November 2019

Federal Analysis: Rural Health Agenda

SLC Regional Resource | November 2019

Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Policy Analysis | September 2019

Media Access at State Capitols

Policy Analysis | April 2019

Federal Legislation on Rural Hospitals

SLC Regional Resource | May 2018

Opioids and Organ Donations: A Tale of Two Crises

Policy Analysis | April 2018

Chamber Vote Adjustment in the South

Policy Analysis | September 2017

SLC Member State Revenue Increases

SLC Regional Resource | April 2017

Body-Worn Cameras: Laws and Policies in the South

Policy Analysis | November 2016

Outside Legal Counsel in SLC Member States

Policy Analysis | September 2016

Autonomous Vehicle Legislation and Trends